A former editorial colleague of mine believed that sex in novels was gratuitous. Every little bit of it. According to him, an author could easily snip the dirty parts from his manuscript and it wouldn’t affect the story at all. As a reader, you wouldn’t even notice anything missing.
Mostly, I agree with him. Sex scenes in prose might increase the temperature in your cabin, but they rarely add anything critical to the narrative. And it doesn’t help matters that literary schtupping is usually awkward and laughable.
But I disagree with my old friend when he insists that sex in novels is a trivial writerly exercise. At the very least, sex establishes an intimate bond between characters and elicits an emotional response from readers. Whether the amatory writing is bad or not-so-bad, it has a purpose.
Also, of course, sex is sex. It may not be a necessary storytelling requirement, but it’s often agreeably titillating. Like an after-dinner brownie sundae, sex in novels is a classic “dessert” that never gets old.
The Moorland Monster by Rochelle Larkin contains three big thumping sex scenes. (Thankfully, the sex is with consenting adults—no monster nooky here.) It’s appropriately libidinous but sophomoric overall. Sometimes it’s even academic. “We hammered each other for a long time,” wrote Larkin during her second encounter. “My constrictor cunnae muscles took over, began to milk that which they clasped. The Egyptians call this action that of the qebbadzeh—the clutcher. The Japanese name it chooskee. In the French language it is casse-noisette.”
More titillating is the descriptive language surrounding the book’s hero, Cherry Delight (née Cherisse Dellissio). Formerly an operative with N.Y.M.P.H.O. (New York Mafia Prosecution and Harassment Organization), she now works as a secret agent for the Department of Unusual Events (D.U.E.). Over the course of 29 novels, her weapons of choice were a wiggle in her walk and a giggle in her talk. “You’re a cool one,” admires one suitor. “Not really,” says Cherry. “Some folks think I’m pretty hot.”
In this latter adventure, Cherry’s in Cornwall to investigate the appearance of a savage giant-sized man-beast. The creature is loose in Bodmin Moor and terrorizing unlucky locals who foolishly venture into the wasteland at night. “It’s an unlovely thing,” describes one local of the moor. “So flat and forbidding, and when the mists roll in, it’s all of a greyness. That’s when the man-beast walks.”
Cherry’s not in southwest England too long, but she’s able to successfully flush out the monster and solve a villainous plot to steal a family fortune. She also has time for a couple of fervid midnight trysts.
With a million-dollar diamond ring safely tucked inside her Gucci bag and two Cornishmen in post-coitus bliss, Cherry departs England for the U.S. “My job here is done,” she says with a purr.
[The All New Cherry Delight: The Moorland Monster / By Rochelle Larkin writing as Glen Chase / First Printing: January 1977 / ISBN: 9780843904895]